The Square Enix booth was an oasis in a sea of geekery for me this past weekend, and while it provided a chance to stop walking around and relax, they treated me to a hands-on demo of the upcoming 3DS title Heroes of Ruin. For those of you out of the loop, Heroes of Ruin is a hack n’ slash ARPG in the vein of Diablo, Torchlight, and a bunch of other dungeon crawlers you’ve played before. It’s also the game that will make you want to pick up that lonely 3DS sitting in the corner of your room.
HoR (just laugh now and get it out of the way) casts you in the role of a mercenary who has arrived to find a cure for the lord of the city Nexus, and divert some sort of cataclysm. Also, insert generic RPG cliche here. The story was pretty much negligible from what I played in the demo but the gameplay more than made up for that. Two basic classes were available out of a total of four that will ship. I chose the “gunslinger” with his dual pistols and bombs. Each class has their own requisite skills and abilities that can be upgraded and customized, along with a solid amount of visual character customization as well. Art and color choices were bright and vivid, which was apparently by design so you can always try to spot your character on-screen when the action gets hectic, and boy does it.
The combat is in real-time and focuses on aggressive assault/dodge tactics, similar to Square Enix’s recent release Dungeon Siege 3. Your character has a basic attack on one face-button, and 3 additional special attacks/abilities can be mapped to the others. Dodging and blocking are handled by the shoulder buttons, and health and mana potions are quick mapped to the d-pad. This default button layout works perfectly on the 3DS, and I was really surprised by how natural the controls felt. I was able to roll around shooting sharkmen in the face with pistols akimbo, while still popping health potions when I needed them. I’m glad the controls are tight because the action is frenetic. Everywhere I walked I was assaulted by goblins, more sharkmen, and weird rolling bug things. The graphics and animation aren’t the best I’ve seen, but the art style is nice and the landscapes actually looked pretty cool given extra depth thanks to 3-D. Unfortunately, after about five minutes I shut it off because my eyes were going crazy, but your mileage may vary.
So beyond the basic hack n’ slash, what is there to be excited about in HoR? Well, the real bread and butter of this game is that it functions almost as a small, self-contained MMORPG. Characters are highly customizable, and have what looks to be a fairly deep skill-tree system. There is drop-in four player co-op, and you can use the built-in 3DS microphone to voice chat with your party. Let me repeat that. They are actually trying to use that stupid microphone you’ve only blown and whistled into up until now, to implement a useful feature. I didn’t get a chance to use party chat, so how well it gets implemented will remain to be seen.
Among some other MMO tropes are over 80,000 unique pieces of loot to be found across the games randomly generated dungeons, and “daily challenges” that can be downloaded via SpotPass. This should extend the life of the game beyond the main storyline and allow a larger amount of replay value for people looking to keep in the loot grind with their friends. Hording loot can be especially beneficial since trading it to other players via StreetPass can unlock even more special items and equipment to use. If all these features come together properly, HoR could be an awesome portable time sink.
Heroes of Ruin was a standout title for me at NYCC. I had heard about it here and there, but it was riding fairly low on my radar for 2012. After playing the demo and seeing how they’ve managed to smartly implement almost every hardware feature on the 3DS along with some slick co-op hack n’ slash, I’m really looking forward to seeing the final product when it drops next April.
Art Deetu -
After experiencing the horrific turd that was Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale I was excited to take a look at Square-Enix’s 3DS action RPG, Heroes of Ruin. While seemingly coming out of nowhere, it thankfully provides many options for multi-player that are sorely lacking in other titles. Four player drop-in/out co-op, daily challenges and promise of frequent DLC are solid features to look forward to. Pair that with the ability to trade items with others makes this an in-depth complete experience when compared with other titles that have a lackluster piece-meal feature set.
The lands are war torn and your help is needed. You are known for your head busting ability but are only interested in joining the fray… for a price. Join up with a buddy or three and kick some ass. The playable version we experienced at NYCC was in an underground temple scenario filled with shark bodied minions to be dispatched with your varying melee and ranged attacks. At times your viewpoint was zoomed in too much, rendering your musket-like gun attack less effective due to the distance between the on-screen foes, otherwise the action was coming at a healthy pace.
I had some negativity to throw in here about how unimpressed I was with the 3D effects of HoR. Only after last night’s Rocket Jump podcast episode did I realize that my initial impression of the mediocre 3D effects were due to Ben’s poor genes with his handicap mole eyes. I should have checked the 3D slider! HoR is shaping up to be a solid title for those interested in a hack and slash fest with a plethora of loot and besides that who doesn’t want to kill some shark people? They deserve it anyways.